When playing sports, sleeping, or straightening your teeth, mouthguards perform an invaluable task of supporting and protecting your teeth. Sporting mouthguards offer protection during physical activities. Bite guards protect your teeth from grinding or clenching while you sleep. Invisalign trays redirect your teeth into a brighter smile.
Now, it’s pretty unlikely that a person wears a mouthguard while eating, but athletes often wear them while drinking. No matter how snug a mouthguard fits, bacteria and liquids can always find a way around it to your teeth and gums. This highlights that wearing a mouthguard while drinking sugary drinks can lead to the acids and sugars in that beverage concentrating themselves in the space between your mouthguard and your tooth enamel. So just like your teeth, mouthguards need rinsing and cleaning to prevent the growth of bacteria and plaque.
Mouthguards Need Protection Too
And when it comes to cavities and gum disease, the main culprits are bacteria. Bacteria are always present in our mouths, and some are helpful, while others are harmful. If not properly taken care of, your mouthguard can become covered in harmful bacteria. So the best idea is to simply keep your mouthguard as bacteria-free as possible.
- Wash it with cool water and mild soap. You can use your toothbrush to do this or keep another brush for this purpose.
- Your mouthguard typically comes with a case for safekeeping. If it’s not in your mouth, it should be in the case. You can leave it there while it air dries.
- Keep your mouthguard away from humidity, especially while it dries. Bacteria thrive in humidity, and they’ll latch onto your nice, clean mouthguard as it’s drying.
- Give your mouthguard a deep cleaning once a week, but don’t soak it in mouthwash. The alcohol in mouthwashes has a negative effect on the plastic materials used in mouthguards. Using denture cleaners for no more than thirty minutes is a better choice.
- Avoid hot water when cleaning or rinsing your mouthguard. Heat easily makes plastic pliable, warping your appliance to a point where its precise measurements are affected.
- Brush your teeth (or rinse them with water, at a minimum) before inserting your mouthguard and after removing it. This greatly reduces the bacteria on your enamel.
- Again, if it’s not in your mouth, keep it in the case. Avoid placing it on other surfaces, chewing on it, or dangling it outside your mouth, even if “just for a moment.” You have no idea what microscopic organisms are resting outside!
Although your mouthguard protects or improves your teeth, it does not replace any other component to good oral hygiene. Make sure to keep brushing and flossing to keep cavities and gum disease away. And don’t forget to bring your mouthguard with you on your next visit to the Placerville Dental Group. We inspect mouthguards and thoroughly clean them while our patients get their teeth cleaned and inspected. Feel free to schedule an appointment today over the phone or here on our website.